The Truth About Herpes

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One of the most common yet manageable types of sexually transmitted diseases or STDs is genital herpes. The herpes simplex virus can be present in many parts of the body, and genital herpes is the form that results from contact of the sexual organs of an infected partner.

While herpes can be a lifelong ailment, recent advances in medical treatments have made it a manageable disease to live with. Still, it is important to know the details about this STD so you know how to reduce your risk of contracting it or transmitting it to your partner.

The Medical Basics of Genital Herpes

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the originating infection that comes in 2 forms: HSV 1 and HSV 2. In the past, HSV 2 was the main cause of genital herpes infections, but with more young teens having sex at earlier ages, the HSV 1 strain has also been causing cases of genital herpes. The HSV in both forms can be present in an infected partner without any signs or symptoms.

Once a partner is infected, they can develop conditions such as:

  • skin irritation near the genital areas including inflammation, itching, pain and burning;
  • blister-like nodes forming on or near the genitals;
  • sores that break open, scab over, and heal;
  • swollen glands, especially in the groin area;
  • fever;
  • headache;
  • muscle aches; and
  • burning during urination.